Strange Tastes and Disgusting Smells: Experiences of German Merchants and Sailors in 16th-Century Iceland

Author(s): Natascha Mehler

Year: 2018

Summary

Each summer during the 16th century, a substantial amount of German merchants and sailors came to Iceland in need of dried fish (stockfish), sulphur and other commodities. They encountered a country, landscape, foodstuffs, customs and people very different from their homes. The experience of risky voyages, being penned on ships with (dead and live) animals, added to the profound sensory impact that came upon them. The paper tries to come towards a synthaesia of what the Germans experienced in Iceland, using primarily written evidence but also archaeological evidence. It will draw upon contemporary 16th century ethnograpic descriptions of both Icelanders and Germans and also show what role the tastes and smells of Iceland played in the process of the othering. 

Cite this Record

Strange Tastes and Disgusting Smells: Experiences of German Merchants and Sailors in 16th-Century Iceland. Natascha Mehler. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2018 ( tDAR id: 441814)

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Keywords

General
Iceland smellscapes synaesthesia

Geographic Keywords
Germany Western Europe

Temporal Keywords
Early modern

Spatial Coverage

min long: 5.865; min lat: 47.275 ; max long: 15.034; max lat: 55.057 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 517